ANDY Murray showed a killer instinct yesterday to seal a place in the third round at the expense of Robin Haase. The Scot took only 89 minutes to win in straight sets, 6-1, 6-1, 6-4, and maintain his hopes of winning a second Wimbledon singles title.
Italian No 25 seed Andreas Seppi now stands in his way tomorrow but Murray has energy left to burn after the ruthless dismantling of his Dutch opponent. He has lost just once in seven meetings against Seppi. While one-sided contests aren’t always what the fans want, Murray believes he can reap the benefit of such comfortably negotiated encounters later in the tournament.
He isn’t always known for making life easier for himself, but he has yet to drop a set at Wimbledon so far. He made even swifter work of Haase than Mikhail Kukushkin, who proved a slightly more challenging obstacle earlier this week.
“In Grand Slams you have to try to conserve energy when you can really, because the two weeks can be quite draining physically and mentally,” said Murray yesterday, after being on court for marginally less time than it takes to play a football match.
“If you can get yourself off the court quickly, capitalise if your opponent maybe isn’t playing as well, if you’re on your game, try to push yourself to keep playing that way. It can pay off towards the end of the tournament.”
Murray has been joined in the third round by James Ward, who defeated Jiri Vesely in four sets, 6-2, 7-6 (7-4), 3-6, 6-3. It is the wild card’s first appearance at the third round stage at Wimbledon. Not since 2002 has Britain celebrated having two players in the last 32, when Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski reached this stage together.
Murray is relishing being able to share the burden of expectation for the time being at least. “He’s not finished here, he could still go further, and have better opportunity to play in bigger events more often,” he said of Ward, the British No 4, who plays Vasek Pospisil next. “He has the ability certainly to compete at this level. He just needs to find a way to do it on a weekly basis.”
Murray enjoyed far more agreeable conditions yesterday on No 1 Court, where he has never lost. In contrast to his victory over Kukushkin, where the on-court temperature reached 41C, the heat felt far more comfortable, with rain delaying play on the outer courts.
“Court 1 is more open,” he said. “When it’s windy, it can swirl around in there a lot more than on Centre. On Centre Court, the wind tends to only go in one direction really. It’s a bit easier to play there because of that. But I’ve always played quite well on Court 1. I like the court. I have played Davis Cup matches there as well. ”
Although there is no Royal Box on Court No 1, Murray’s match was watched by the Duchess of Cornwall, who was presented with one of the sweatbands he threw to the crowd at the end of the match. It was caught by All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club chairman Philip Brook, who then handed it to the Duchess.
She initially wrinkled her nose at the prospect of handling the item, but Murray later revealed she had kept the souvenir, placing it in her handbag for safe-keeping.
“I heard that she was coming today,” he said. “I saw her briefly after the match. But the wristband actually hit the chairman of Wimbledon. He was there with her.
“Normally you see who catches it. The Duchess opened up her bag and my wristband was in there, so he obviously had given it to her.”